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Lecture 6

Lecture 6: First and Second Punic Wars

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University of Toronto St. George
Glenn Wilkinson

First and Second Punic Wars First Punic War (264-241 BCE)  Carthage o Socially was dominated by Greeks and Phoenicians o Phoenicians had dominion over the Western Mediterranean Sea o Phoenicians were not an agrarian society, they did not move far inland and preferred not to fight land battles o Phoenicians were extremely culturally different from Rome  Child sacrifices, baby burning  Capture of Messana and Siege of Syracuse (264-261) o War began from a conflict over the city of Messana o Rome managed to capture Messana in 262 o Motivated either by money or expansion o Rome moved south and laid siege to Syracuse o Syracuse quickly surrendered and agreed to provide supplies to the Roman army  Rome builds a Navy (and the Corvus); Stalemate (261-256) o Rome had a powerful land army but Carthage had a powerful navy o Rome captured Carthaginian ships and examined their technology to construct their own navy o Corvus – plank smashed into an enemy ship and Romans would board the ship using the plank  Rome invades North Africa; Catastrophe (256-255) o 256 BCE, both consuls sent to North Africa to bring a swift end to the war  Routed a Carthaginian fleet on the way  Little progress was made on land  One consul was sent back to Rome o 255 BCE, entire Roman force in Africa was decimated and consul Regulus captured  Only 3000 men were rescued  A storm on the way back destroyed ~140 ships and killed ~100000 o Rome immediately began to rebuild its lost ships o Regulus was sent back to Rome to relay a hostage request but at Rome, Regulus advised the senate to refuse because it would hurt Rome more than it was worth o Regulus was sent back to Carthage and executed  Stalemate, Victory and Truce (255-241) o Rome continued fighting until 242, when Rome won decisive battles and drove Carthage out of Sicily o Rome and Carthage made a truce and Carthage had to pay an indemnity The Interwar Period (241-218 BCE)  Carthage spent a lot of money during the First Punic War o Their navy was destroyed and they did not have the resources to rebuild it o They no longer held Sicily and thus could not gain more mercenaries o They did not have any money due to the indemnity to pay their mercenaries, causing them to rebel  Rome took this opportunity to seize Sardinia and C
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